Chinese Mass：Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.
Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)
After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering
Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)
Talk and discussion meeting First Tuesday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church
[1st Reading – Hab.1:2-3,2:2-4; Ps.94; 2nd Reading – 2Tm.1:6-8,13-14; Gospel – Lk.17:5-10]
“… OUR DUTY”
Today’s Gospel starts with a request made by the Apostles to Jesus. These were the “twelve” who were among the most intimate group of disciples, who were constantly with Jesus and who then became the pillars on which Jesus built the Church. Here, they are asking Jesus to “increase” their faith, as if they have something and want Jesus to make it grow.
As usual, Jesus did not respond with a direct answer to their request … or better still, Jesus does not give them the answer they were expecting. The Apostles expected a direct answer, or maybe even perhaps a “miracle” which increased their faith. Instead Jesus used this opportunity to continue with his teaching to them and his teaching does not even seem to have anything to do with their request! So, what exactly is Jesus trying to say to them?
Jesus reminds them what they already know: that they do not have enough faith, or better still, that they do not really have any faith at all! Their faith is therefore, less than the size of a mustard seed. Of course, the Apostles already knew this – which is why they asked Jesus to increase their faith in the first place! Jesus’ teaching seems to be telling them that instead of “increasing” their faith they should ask him to “give” them faith (i.e. from scratch, as if they do not have any faith at all). Since faith is in itself a gift from God, Jesus is trying to tell them that God is the one who gives this gift to those who merit it! This can be understood through studying the inter-relationship between the master and the servant.
Jesus is saying that the servant’s relationship with his master is such that the servant has to serve his master, wait on him and do whatever the master wants him to do. In such a way the servant has and is nothing of his own but is totally reliant on his master. The future of both the servant and the master depends on their relationship with each other: the master is to be served by the servant and the servant is to be totally dependent of the master. The servant has no identity of his own except the fact that he is the servant of that master. As long as he does what his master asks of him… then he will have the possibility to live and to continue to serve his master. Therefore when the servant has finished serving the master, he really has nothing to boast about other than to admit that he has done his duty (i.e. to serve).
This should also be the way in which we relate to God our Father. He is the Master on who we, the servants depend upon. We know that we can have life as long as we “serve Him, wait on him and do whatever He wants us to do”. Once we do so, and therefore put ourselves in total dependency on Him, it is He Himself who will give us the faith that we need to continue to serve Him in such a way that we can truly say “We are merely servants: we have done no more than our duty”. It is for Him to do rest… if He wants to…
“Thank you Lord for believing in us, for taking us into your service and for making of us a people ready to listen to and live according to your voice. Thank You Lord!”
Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.
(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )